When buying firewood, knowing what to look for to find the best firewood is essential. If you do not know the characteristics of high quality wood, you may end up spending your winter heating fuel money on inferior firewood. This is not only a waste of money and energy, but burning bad wood can also cause hazards and problems for your chimney. The best firewood will heighten the performance and efficiency of your fireplace or other wood-burning heating appliance. Our staff at Ashbusters are often asked about what type of wood is the best to burn and other questions about buying good firewood. We would like to share a few tips from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) about what you should be looking for to choose the best firewood.
Being well-seasoned is the most important characteristic of the best firewood.
What exactly does “well-seasoned” mean? Seasoned wood is dry wood. To be truly well-seasoned, the firewood must have been cut at least six months previously to give the wood enough time for excess water and moisture within the logs to evaporate. Seasoned wood should have around a 20% moisture content. Wood that has been freshly cut can have a moisture content of almost 50%. It can be extremely difficult to build a fire with wet wood. Even worse, burning wet wood can lead to a rapid and large accumulation of the highly flammable creosote.
Do not be shy of testing a vendor’s firewood to be sure it is well-seasoned.
If you do not cut your own firewood supply and are not in control of its seasoning process, there are a couple of ways you can be sure the wood you are buying is sufficiently dry enough to burn efficiently. The most accurate way is to use a moisture meter to indicate exactly what the moisture percentage of the wood is. Found at most hardware and home improvement stores, a moisture meter will quickly tell you the exact percentage of water within the wood. If you would rather not buy a moisture meter, you can still test the firewood by hitting two pieces of it together. If the wood makes a clear, ringing, hollow sound, you will know that wood is seasoned properly. If you hear a dull, thudding sound, do not buy that firewood as it is not dry enough to safely burn.
Ask where the firewood was cut and how it has been stored.
You do not want to buy wood that has traveled a long way from where it was cut. Many states have passed laws that only allow firewood vendors to sell wood that has been cut in the same county in an effort to reduce the spread of wood-eating beetles, and this is good news for buyers of firewood. Equally important is being sure the vendor has properly stored the firewood. The best firewood has been stored off the ground in a dry, well-ventilated shed with a roof to protect it from rain and snow.
If you would like more tips and suggestions on choosing the best firewood, contact Ashbusters to ask our expert staff. We are glad to help you find the highest quality firewood to burn.